Former mayor will fight to save after-school group

A former mayor of Royston says he is “shocked” at the news that a popular after-school group will close because of a funding shortfall.

The Burns Road Hang Out, which serves children from eight-13, has been axed by North Herts District Council and will cease to operate next month.

Town councillor Martin Beaver says he will try to secure alternative funding for the club, which operates after school in the Coombes Community Centre on Tuesdays.

“I’m shocked at the news and I will be looking into the matter carefully to see if there’s any way to get this problem resolved,” he said.

The Crow understands that around 20-25 youngsters use the club, which has been cut, along with four other clubs in North Herts.

NHDC said that it was unable to continue the scheme, which costs the authority �30,000 a year to run, because it had its lottery funding cut.

It had secured funding from a number of smaller grants to allow the projects to remain open until the end of this summer.

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Cllr Tricia Cowley, NHDC portfolio holder for community engagement said: “It is a great shame that we are unable to continue to provide these play projects which have been funded through external grants since they began in 2007.

“Councillors have always known that the money for these projects came from external sources, and as such, could never be guaranteed to continue.

“It is a fact of the current economic situation that ongoing funding has become increasingly difficult to find.

“We recognise the importance of access to play for children and the benefits it brings.

“The council continues to spend �130,000 each year on children’s services. which enables us to provide the ever-popular Play Rangers schemes in school holidays, and we also run a number of sports development schemes for young people.”